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Food inspection agency suspends low-risk activities


March 24, Ottawa, Ont. – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is taking action to preserve the integrity of Canada’s food safety system, while safeguarding its animal and plant resource base.

The CFIA has activated its business continuity plan, which introduces a temporary suspension of low-risk activities that do not immediately impact the production of safe food for Canadians in order to prioritize critically important services during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The agency said in a press release that the food safety system remains strong.

“This approach to temporarily suspend low-risk activities allows the CFIA to continue to safeguard the health and safety of its staff while refocusing efforts in areas of higher risk and towards activities that are critical to the safety of food, as well as animal and plant health,” the agency stated.

“The government of Canada is working hard with partners at all levels to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as it develops. This includes continuing to perform the critical activities and to deliver needed services to preserve the integrity of Canada’s food safety system.”

CFIA is prioritizing:

  • food safety investigations and recalls
  • animal disease investigations
  • inspection services
  • export certification
  • import inspection services
  • emergency management
  • laboratory diagnostics in support of the above

CFIA is temporarily suspending:

  • food inspections and investigations not related to food safety
  • low risk surveillance or sampling activities (food, plant and animal)
  • inspections of preventive control plans and plant and animal inspections in areas of low risk
  • low risk labelling and domestic facility inspections
  • low risk feed, seed and fertilizer permissions

The CFIA states that while its business continuity plan is in place, industry must continue to comply with requirements pertaining to food, animal and plant health and remains responsible for the safety and quality of the food that it produces, imports and exports.

“The CFIA is working with industry and is continuing its critical activities so that Canadians continue to have access to safe food during this difficult time.

“In an effort to protect the health and safety of its employees and their families and while providing critical services, the CFIA continues to monitor developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and to support the efforts of the Canadian and global authorities in their responses by making adjustments to its service delivery plans.”

The CFIA states that it understands the concerns of industry and consumers with respect to COVID-19 and the unprecedented impact around the globe on businesses, economies and people and is committed to communicating its ongoing activities.


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